The verdict: The fourth-generation Honda Pilot is significantly improved and no for a longer time just a minivan in SUV garments.
Compared to the level of competition: With a legitimate off-road trim stage, easy V-6 electricity, aggressive towing capacities and considerably much better multimedia technique usability, the 2023 Pilot is after once more a viable option in a crowded class — but not always the front-runner.
The 2023 Honda Pilot is absolutely redesigned, with the fourth-generation SUV serving as a tacit admission by Honda that its predecessor was not the proper approach for the section. Even though the third-technology Pilot (which ran from the 2016-22 design decades) had an amazing and able all-wheel-generate program, its appearance was that of a minivan pretending to be an SUV. As trucklike 3-row SUVs began to flood the sector, the Pilot was still left in the lurch. An atrocious infotainment method that relied on much also several contact-delicate controls did not support, both.
Similar: 2023 Honda Pilot Racks Up House, Safety, Off-Highway Chops for TrailSport
Honda is correcting the search with this new Pilot, supplying it a a lot squarer appearance and, notably, a truly capable off-street trim in the TrailSport model. The TrailSport trim debuted on the 2022 Pilot, but aside from a slight suspension raise, it was largely an visual appeal offer — not out of the norm among unibody 3-row SUVs, exactly where off-highway trims like the Hyundai Palisade XRT and Kia Telluride X-Pro are extra demonstrate than go. The current TrailSport trim for the 2023 Pilot arrives with a 1-inch suspension raise as very well as an off-street-tuned suspension, knobby all-terrain tires, a revised AWD method particular to the TrailSport and genuine underbody protection. Other updates consist of a switch to one particular of Honda’s far more present day and simpler-to-use touchscreen multimedia programs, although curiously not its major or most recent.
I lately traveled to Sedona, Ariz., to generate the 2023 Pilot TrailSport and Elite trim degrees on community roads and even go off-roading in a TrailSport in a fashion the regular operator likely hardly ever would. (Per Autos.com’s ethics policy, we fork out for our airfare and lodging when attending such manufacturer-hosted functions.) The final result: The Pilot is a much a lot more common-searching three-row SUV that doesn’t always crack new floor in the phase, but somewhat provides the Pilot again up to snuff in a well known and crowded course.
The Pilot’s new mild-truck architecture — shared with the Acura MDX — is much stiffer than its predecessor, according to Honda. The suspension has been substantially revised, as perfectly, with new front struts and an all-new rear multilink suspension.
I drove both TrailSport and Elite variations of the Pilot on the road, and I was struck by how comfy the journey was irrespective of trim. The roads we drove were being mostly smooth conserve for the occasional cattle guard, but each versions felt at ease and composed. The Pilot is not a little SUV, and is really about 3 inches more time in equally total size and wheelbase, so “competent” may possibly be a greater phrase to explain its managing than “nimble.” Even so, the system roll I felt in corners was effectively managed and switchbacks did not unsettle both Pilot or call for surplus braking — and speaking of brakes, the Pilot’s are greater in this technology. Pedal sense remains nice and linear with out extreme grabbiness.
The Pilot TrailSport, with its additional inch of ground clearance and off-street-tuned suspension, was considerably less satisfied on pavement, but not by considerably. Another trade-off in choosing the TrailSport are its much more intense all-terrain tires, and when they weren’t as noisy as additional aggressive off-street tires 1 could come across on, say, a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, there was a lot more apparent vibration transferred into the cabin as opposed to the Pilot Elite’s road tires. On the other hand, the Pilot Elite’s 20-inch wheels and tires were a lot more inclined to pavement imperfections than the TrailSport’s 18-inch wheel-and-tire combo. That stated, I would continue to get in touch with the Elite’s journey relaxed.
All Pilot trim degrees are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 motor paired with a 10-pace automatic transmission. A V-6 of this size is prevalent in the class, and electric power from Honda’s is clean and sufficient for highway passing and merging, although it does not make the SUV sense fast. The new 10-velocity automatic is a big improvement around the outgoing 9-speed computerized, but while Honda touted fast four-gear downshifts less than really hard acceleration, it nonetheless felt a little bit ponderous to me the downshifts appear to happen 1 at a time relatively than dropping all 4 gears at when, but once the electricity comes on, there is more than sufficient. The transmission also fixes an problem which is vexed me for many years in preceding Pilots: When permitting off the accelerator pedal, preceding Pilots would quickly decelerate and not allow for significant amounts of coasting. This could be a trouble when approaching a targeted traffic gentle on a increased-velocity highway you see in the length that the light-weight is red, but there’s no need to have to brake just still. The new Pilot can truly coast, which will most likely delight me and only me.
The past generation of Pilot also utilized a 3.5-liter V-6, while the 2023’s has been revised and now generates 285 horsepower (up 5 hp from the previous Pilot) and 262 pounds-feet of torque (unchanged). Maximum towing capacity, which involves all-wheel travel, remains 5,000 lbs — adequate for most toy-hauling excursions — but no lengthier requires a vendor-added transmission cooler. Front-wheel-travel versions supply 22 mpg merged, according to Honda estimates, when AWD non-TrailSports major out at 21 mpg (the TrailSport will get an approximated 20 mpg put together). That is in line with the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride’s fuel efficiency, but it trails the current 2023 Toyota Highlander with its new turbocharged 4-cylinder motor — as effectively as the Highlander Hybrid. Inspite of Honda’s hybrid thrust in other popular types like the CR-V and Accord, the Pilot does not at present give a hybrid powertrain.
Remarkable Off-Highway, But for Whom?
Using the TrailSport off-street was remarkable I have witnessed what very similar merchandise can do and know that Honda’s AWD system is very able, but the TrailSport’s all-terrain tires and underbody safety enable it go sites proprietors will most likely never ever venture. TrailSport and Elite models also add a TrailWatch camera process that delivers handy views close to the Pilot at speeds down below 15 mph switching to the Path driving method activates the camera, as does a button on the end of the correct-side stalk on the steering column. The views aren’t quite as great as in a Jeep, and I located the dynamic rules indicating tire position a bit lacking, but possessing a digital camera procedure like this is incredibly practical and welcome. Even though equivalent programs have a committed washer functionality, the Pilot’s is tied to the windshield washers — use the front washers and the front digicam will get a spritz. Exact goes for the rear washer and rear camera.
The TrailSport can definitely keep up with the Ford Explorer Timberline and Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek, which, not like lots of other “off-road” three-row SUVs, incorporate more than just a rugged overall look. Even though the TrailSport’s capabilities are extraordinary, I do question what the use circumstance is for the common consumer outside of wondering it seems to be great. We tackled moderately complicated trails in the TrailSport without the need of difficulty, but I’d want some thing more sturdy — a Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco or Toyota 4Runner TRD Professional — for recurrent off-roading. Which is especially true simply because the TrailSport’s underbody defense is not as sturdy as what is on additional intense off-roaders, and huge entrance and rear overhangs and normal floor clearance will limit what terrain is passable in inventory configuration.
A Competitive Interior — Eventually
When we very last as opposed 3-row SUVs, the 3rd-gen Pilot came previous in a field of 7 because of in large section to its abysmal Exhibit Audio touchscreen multimedia method, which relied on contact-delicate controls and was sluggish and tricky to use. The new Pilot does not use Honda’s hottest or major touchscreen technologies, but it does transfer to a new 9-inch screen on all but the base trim. This new display screen is a great deal much easier to use, has a physical quantity knob and tuning buttons (a tuning knob would be preferable, but actual physical controls are however welcome) and wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. It is a significant and welcome up grade, though it’s disappointing that the 12.3-inch touchscreen in the forthcoming 2023 Accord did not make it to the Pilot.